Ruddigore

Date 21st March 2017
Society Wolverton G & S Society
Venue Stantonbury Campus Theatre, MK
Type of Production Operetta
Director Graham Breeze
Musical Director Mike Crofts
Choreographer Graham Breeze

Report

Author: Jenny Chandler

I always enjoy seeing one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s less performed operettas which, although probably not attaining the popularity of some, nevertheless still contains all the whimsy and flair of the two Victorians. This melodramatic piece revolves around an ancient family curse visited on the head of the Murgatroyd family. The baronet must perform one evil deed a day or suffer terrible consequences. For some time the rightful heir has masqueraded under the name Robin Oakapple, who is in love with the local beauty, Rose Maybud. He being very shy and she bound by her book of etiquette they declare their love but only as third parties. Cue the return of Robin’s foster brother, Richard Dauntless who decides to take Rose Maybud for himself and so acts the villain (albeit a cheery-faced one) and gives away Robin’s secret thus forcing him to take up his rightful position together with its hereditary curse. The second act is taken up with the new baronet trying to wriggle out of the demands of the curse, bringing down the fury of his ghostly ancestors. Eventually a solution is arrived at which satisfies all involved.

A pleasant chorus of ever-hopeful bridesmaids opened the show with Fair is Rose as Bright as May complete with nicely performed movement. Also very pleasing was the duet sung by Graham Mitchell (Robin) and Elizabeth Healing (Rose Maybud). Paula Fraser made a big contribution to the production performing Mad Margarets wild solo Cheerily Carols the Lark with both fire and pathos. Graham Breeze’s Richard Dauntless had perpetualhad perpetual cheeriness and ebullience which hid his character’s darker side. All the other roles were well cast and played by some seasoned players which added depth to the show. In the second act the chorus of past ancestors brought a suitably vengeful feel to their delivery of When the Night Wind Howls although I felt that one or two voices needed a little boost.

Setting, lighting, costumes and the back stage crew all added greatly to the performance, together with an excellent orchestra under the baton of Mike Crofts.

Well done to all, I look forward to seeing Jack the Ripper in July. Thank you for the warm welcome, especial thanks to President Clarence for his company throughout the evening.